Kirsten Gillibrand: I Believe Vanessa Tyson, Meredith Watson -- Fairfax Should Resign


The panel on "The Five" discussed a second sexual assault allegation that surfaced Friday against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D).

The statement says Watson "hopes he will resign from public office".

"At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character", said her attorney, Nancy Erika Smith in a statement Friday. "Sexual assault is abhorrent and unfortunately can occur right around us". In a statement, the governor said he was "deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now".

The fallout has been most intense for Northam, a former U.S. Army doctor whose medical school yearbook page was revealed to show a photo of one person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume.

"This is the second serious sexual assault allegation leveled against the Lieutenant Governor in the past week", Wilson said.

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The delegation - consisting of the state's two U.S. senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and seven USA representatives - repeated its call for Northam to resign, and said the allegations against Fairfax "need to be taken very seriously", though it stopped short of demanding a formal investigation.

Blow called Herring's blackface incident disrespectful, ugly and degrading.

"She said he knew that she didn't like what was happening, but he kept pushing her down".

Virginia's two US senators and seven Democratic congressmen released a joint statement saying the sexual assault accusation must be investigated, and Herring must continue to have "in-depth discussions" if he is to regain the public's trust. She turned and asked: "'Why did you do it?' Mr. Fairfax answered: "'I knew that because of what happened to you past year, you'd be too afraid to say anything'".

Later in the day, the governor issued a statement to state employees, saying, "You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward - and I plan to do that". Fairfax has insisted that the encounter was consensual.

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The situation is complicated by the racial politics of the three Virginia officials at the centre of the scandal.

Given the fact that this is 1968 we're talking about, the revelation by Norment doesn't seem like quite as big a shock as those involving Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring.

At the start of the week, Cox said there was little appetite among lawmakers to remove Northam through impeachment, saying resignation "would obviously be less pain for everyone". If all three were to step down, the Democrats would lose the governorship to the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates, who is next in the line of succession.

The improbable scenario of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general being forced to resign en masse has raised the prospect of the Democrats losing the governorship to a Republican without an election.

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